Our Place in Time: the Historic Environment Strategy for Scotland

A high-level framework which sets out a 10-year vision for the Scotland's historic environment.

C - Protect: Care and Protect

Strategic Priorities

Continue to develop a holistic and sustainable approach to the management of the historic environment.

Continue to apply (and develop) effective and proportionate protection and regulation with controls and incentives.

Ensure capacity by supporting and enabling people to engage with the historic environment, making the values of the historic environment accessible to everyone.

It is essential for future generations, as well as our own, that the historic environment is cared for in a sustainable way, and legally protected where appropriate. It is important that investment and expenditure on the historic environment supports our efforts on preventing problems through early intervention. Likewise, refurbishment and re-use of redundant or neglected buildings can act as a major engine for positive change. Ultimately this is the responsibility of owners and managers, but professional bodies and policy makers have a key role to play in supporting them. For example, local authorities lead in managing the planning system and are already the trustees of their local historic environment.

Change is an inevitable part of the dynamic of the historic environment, and how this is managed is the critical factor. It is vital to strike the right balance between development and the protection of significant historic environment assets. The planning system is one of the main mechanisms in which this balance between protection and managing change must be considered - in specific cases and more strategically. [1]

Key aim: to care for and protect the historic environment in order to both enjoy and benefit from it and to conserve and enhance it for the benefit of future generations.

Different people respond to heritage and the historic environment in different ways and with different priorities. It is critical that the Strategy delivers greater inclusivity in valuing and caring for Scotland's places, and so substantially impacts on people differently, though, if successful, entirely beneficially.

Institute of Historic Building Conservation

It is critical when working with historic environment assets, to have access to the right people as well as the right knowledge.

The vast majority of Scotland's historic buildings and archaeological sites are not designated, but, once recorded, are a material consideration in the planning process. Only a small percentage have the added protection of being recognised as nationally important and are, for example, listed, scheduled or included in a national inventory. While the current designation and regulatory system is generally fit for specific purposes, it is complicated, particularly from the layperson's perspective, and options for greater simplification should be explored.

Regulation is an important instrument for protecting the historic environment but it is only one side of the story. Public and private investment in the fabric and management of our historic environment is necessary to help deliver our vision. However, investment priorities will inevitably need to be reviewed in light of diminishing resources to ensure they have maximum positive impact.

It is critical, when working with historic environment assets, to have access to the right people as well as the right knowledge. This involves understanding the different roles which contribute to successful projects, but also stressing the need for collaboration and sharing good practice and success stories.

As so much of the historic environment is owned and cherished at individual and community level, there is a key role for community capacity building to provide more tools and assistance for owners and local communities wishing to preserve, restore and bring traditional buildings back into use.

The management of the historic environment has become increasingly professionalised in the last fifty years. This has been reflected in the increasing role of specialist advisers and agents. It is essential that such professional input is accessible to those who need it, be it builders, craftspeople, architects, engineers, archaeologists, surveyors or planners.

Counting the contribution of volunteers

This Strategy recognises and values the time that volunteers devote to the historic environment and to sharing their experience and skills. For example, Archaeology Scotland supported nearly 100 volunteers in 2011/12, who carried out 17,453 hours of work. Even at the minimum wage, this equates to an economic value of over £122,000.

Adopt-a-Monument volunteer training workshop at Kilbride Kirkyard

Adopt-a-Monument volunteer training workshop at Kilbride Kirkyard
Photograph: © Archaeology Scotland

There is a large pool of enthusiastic volunteers in the historic environment sector in Scotland. Very many local groups take an active role in recording and conserving individual sites or whole landscapes or townscapes as well as taking the lead in local regeneration. We need to be able to better harness that energy and enthusiasm by enabling and empowering the voluntary sector so that it can deliver successful outcomes for the historic environment. Supporting the voluntary sector encourages local people to care for and become involved in their own historic environment.

The historic environment brings social and economic benefits to communities

Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme ( CARS)

This scheme provides financial assistance, over a five year period, for a local conservation area based regeneration and conservation initiative. A report published by Jura Consultants in 2013 noted the following impacts in relation to the CARS scheme:

  • CARS funding had a catalytic effect, assisting in attracting additional funding, but also encouraging owners of properties not in receipt of grant to repair or better maintain their buildings. Over the period studied by Jura Consultants £6.7 million of Historic Scotland funding attracted a further £18.6 million of investment from other sources.
  • Projects funded by CARS have contributed to animating public space and community buildings, leading to the creation of a more vibrant historic environment.
  • A greater sense of pride has been achieved in many areas through the enhancement of the historic environment but also activities designed to engage the community in better understanding the heritage of the area.
  • Investment through CARS has contributed to enhancing the trading environment in many of our conservation areas.
  • The social impact of CARS projects appears to be considerable, creating a sense of community empowerment and ownership in the process and enhancing sense of place and distinctiveness of place through preserving, enhancing and showcasing the heritage of these areas.

Example: The Campbeltown CARS began in 2007 and ended in 2012. The scheme delivered the following benefits:

  • 17 shop fronts refurbished
  • 140 original timber windows refurbished
  • 75 grants offered amounting to £650,000
  • Repairs to 50 buildings
  • Contributed to the local economy by involving over 40 local contractors

Royal Hotel, Campbeltown

Royal Hotel, Campbeltown
(funded through Campbeltown CARS)

Photograph: Printed with permission from Argyll & Bute Council


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